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April 22, 2019

Sterling to pay for funeral of teenager who ‘touched his life’

Sterling to pay for funeral of teenager who ‘touched his life’

Sterling

England star Raheem Sterling is to pay for the funeral of former Crystal Palace youth player Damary Dawkins who he says was an “example to us all”.

Manchester City’s English midfielder Raheem Sterling celebrates after scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Crystal Palace and Manchester City at Selhurst Park in south London on April 14, 2019. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /


Dawkins died aged 13 of leukaemia in March — Sterling had supported a campaign to find a suitable stem cell donor for him.

A general view of the Kingsbury Hotel targeted earlier in the day by a blast in Colombo on April 21, 2019. – A series of eight devastating bomb blasts ripped through high-end hotels and churches holding Easter services in Sri Lanka on April 21, killing at least 207 people, including dozens of foreigners. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP)

According to an appeal page, Dawkins did receive a stem cell match a few days before Christmas but he relapsed in February.

His family had set up a GoFundMe page to raise £15,000 ($19,400) to give Dawkins the “best send off and celebration of life” — but Sterling has assumed all the costs himself.

“Damary was a special young man who touched a lot of lives, including my own. Positive until the end, he was an example to us all,” said Sterling, who will attend the funeral on Friday.

Sterling paid tribute to Damary by lifting his England shirt to reveal a picture of the two of them together following his second goal in the 5-0 win over the Czech Republic in their Euro 2020 qualifier in March.
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Their close relationship echoes that of former England international Jermain Defoe and Sunderland fan Bradley Lowery, who died of a rare form of cancer aged just six in 2017.

Defoe, who was playing for Sunderland at the time, forged a close bond with the youngster — he has his name tattooed on his right arm — and carried the boy he described as his “best friend” onto the pitch at Wembley for an England international with Lithuania.